Burnley College Students are playing a vital role in ensuring the Aerospace and Engineering industries in Lancashire recover and grow in a post-pandemic world.

A team of seven Advanced Level Computing Students from Burnley College Sixth Form Centre have created a bespoke “dashboard” which monitors and tracks vacancies and skills gaps across multiple sectors in real time – allowing employers, educational and Apprenticeship providers like Burnley College and Themis to work strategically together.

The dashboard uses live data to create an instant, visual and easy to understand report showing employment trends, skills gaps and potential supply chains.

It’s all part of the Lancashire Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing (AEM) Watchtower project – a £1 million initiative to support the Aerospace sector in Lancashire.

Mackenzie Ingham and Charlie Glover are two of the seven. They are both in their first year and found out about the project through their Tutor.

Mackenzie, 16, from Burnley, a former Unity College pupil says:

“I received an email saying ‘There is a fantastic opportunity right now working with the biggest names in the Aerospace industry’ – it seemed like an amazing experience and something which would look incredible on my CV.”

Charlie, 18, from Bacup and former All Saints’ RC High School pupil explains exactly what they’ve created:

“The main focus of the Watchtower project is to see how Covid has impacted the industry as a whole and give experts in the industry the right information they need to ensure a quick and effective recovery.

“There’s a huge amount of data which needs to be assembled, filtered and then displayed in a way which is useful and instantly informative to users.

“It took a lot of discussion as team and hard work to create the product as it currently stands.”

The final product will involve a large amount of highly sensitive and confidential data – and when the programme was demonstrated to members of the AEM a dummy set of figures were used.

Even the prototype is potentially so secretive we are unable to share any photographs of it in use.

Mackenzie says the feedback was great:

“The CEO of one company said it showed ‘a lot of potential’ and we’ve been given feedback for the next stage of development.

“It’s fantastic we have had this opportunity to work with essentially some of the top 50 companies in the country, if not the world, and people on the highest levels in business are seeing what this team are capable of.”

Charlie says he intends to forge his career in the world of computing and this will really help:

“I’m certainly looking at similar industries – possibly going into cyber security. There are so many paths which can be chosen, I’m keeping my options open for now.”

Ben Scott, Programme Leader for Computing at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre says it’s been an amazing learning opportunity:

“The AEM approached us as a College because of our expertise and our industry connections.

“This is a huge project and they wanted to be sure whoever took it on would be able to complete it. Our Students have excelled all expectations.

“It’s been a real challenge and everyone has had to learn a lot at a very high level in a short space of time to complete this project to the standard they have – but it has been more than worth it.

“The experience they’ve had – working to a brief, working with a high level of expectation and tight delivery deadlines – it’s something you don’t normally experience in a classroom environment. I’m incredibly proud of everything they’ve achieved – and so is the AEM.”

The AEM has members from huge names in the industry such as Addison Precision, BAE, Safran Nacelles and Rolls Royce and is a collaboration between Lancashire County Council and the North West Aerospace Alliance.

Do you want the opportunity to work alongside the biggest names in industry? Do you want to work alongside industry-experts, with state-of-the-art facilities and in a safe, friendly and welcoming environment right in the heart of Burnley? Find out more about our wide range of computing courses now. See www.burnley.ac.uk/search/?st=computing

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